Stand-alone cash sweep analysis is an alternative metric for refinance risk and repayment ability in cash flow models for project finance. This tutorial outlines the key features of a modelling cash sweep calculation and its application in analysis of a project finance model.
During a cash sweep, 100% of cash flow available for debt service (CFADS) is used to repay principal and interest.
Stand-alone cash sweep analysis is used to calculate the amount of time it takes to repay the debt in full and should not be confused with cash sweep mechanics governed by the term sheet.
It is an alternative to interpreting debt metrics, such as the loan life cover ratio (LLCR) and project life cover ratio (PLCR), which also analyse the project’s ability to repay debt. It is a quick and useful way of analysing the impact of downside scenarios.
Application of cash sweep analysis in a project finance model
Cash sweep analysis can be applied on the base case but will be the most beneficial when applied on a series of downside scenarios. A cash sweep that demonstrates debt being fully repaid in the most conservative downside scenario will reinforce the soundness of the project. Benefits include:
It is easier to set up than all the mechanics needed to model the complete interpretation of a term sheet cash sweep that is triggered by financial covenants, but provides comparable levels of analysis.
The start date of the sweep can be set up as an input, which makes it flexible. This can then be set to either the start of the debt facility, end of completion or the debt maturity to analyse refinance risk.
A graphical representation of the closing debt balance in the cash sweep account and in the usual debt account gives a good understanding of the project’s cash flow characteristics.
Key features in modelling the stand alone cash sweep
Step 1: Determine cash flow used for cash sweep
The cash flow used for a stand-alone cash sweep is CFADS less interest payable on the cash sweep debt balance – cash available for principal.
Screenshot 1: Cash flow used for a stand-alone sweep
Step 2: Set-up flag for sweep start date
Setting up a flag that illustrates when the sweep is in place enables the start date to change and helps to reduce the complexity of the mechanics in the cash sweep debt account. The flag drives off the sweep start date and is a simple binary [1, 0] result.
Screenshot 2: Setting-up flag for sweep start date
Step 3: Set up a stand-alone cash sweep account
The stand-alone cash sweep account is set up so that during the periods before the sweep, the repayment is the scheduled principal and once the sweep starts the repayment switches to the cash available for principal.
Screenshot 3: Cash sweep calculations
Screenshot 3 demonstrates that during the period ending 31-Mar-15 (before the sweep start date of 1-Apr-15), the repayment is the scheduled principal of USD 7.27 Million and once the sweep starts the repayment switches to the cash available for principal, i.e., USD 9.69 Million in period ending 30-Jun-15.
Step 4: Determine the payback and repaid date
The analysis on the debt account gives us the repaid date and the time it takes to repay in the cash sweep.
Screenshot 4: Analysis to determine the payback and repaid date in the cash sweep
The example above shows the debt is fully repaid by 31-Dec-17.
Step 5: Create Graph
Finally, the sweep analysis can be compared against the debt account by presenting it in a graph.
Screenshot 5: Sweep analysis compared against the debt account
Constraints with a stand-alone cash sweep
Tax calculations are not as accurate as in the modelling of the full term sheet.
The flexibility can sometimes cause confusion. Make sure to present all timing assumptions clearly to decision makers.
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